By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
In the event you've had better things to do than watch MTV deteriorate into a steaming sewer of reality programming, you might have missed South Florida's double-time queer cast previewed on The Real World: Brooklyn. The show's 21st season premieres January 7 and will follow its first transgender character — a male-to-female brunette from Broward named Katelynn — and a gay Miami Beach dolphin trainer (the mammal, not the team) named JD as they "stop being polite and start getting real" in front of a tilted-for-effect camera.
Katelynn Cusanelli, age 24, is a former Palm Beach Community College student who moved in with the cast three weeks after her gender reassignment surgery. Judging by her Facebook profile, she is now doing a decent job "passing" in Missoula, Montana, after all of that "getting real." (Riptide suspects that will change after the show airs.) The teaser previews a male character thoughtfully reflecting, "Dude, she was born a man!" along with dolphin trainer JD Ordonez smashing a glass table. The show also promises a hipster Mormon and a macho military guy.
Without spoiling all the juicy parts, let's just say Katelynn "confides" in Ordonez, an orphan who auditioned because he "was looking for a family." Says Ordonez: "I met a lot of drag queens, working as a bartender in Miami, and I knew right off the bat: She and I were different."
Television and film seem to be slowly warming up to the idea of trans and cross-dressing characters in noncomedy roles, at least when it comes to fellas becoming ladies (Transamerica, A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story, and even All My Children). For some reason, though, middle America still doesn't seem able to digest chick-to-dude trannies. But, hey, there's always season 22.